We have been assured that vandal governments and enslaved peoples, with the accompanying rapacity and tyranny, have been unknown since the dark ages, and that humanity is marching steadily toward a glorious future, enlightened by liberty and democracy. Our readers can judge for themselves how far all this is true. Unasked, the Americans came to these islands, impelled (they say) by the love of humanity, and announcing that they brought with them liberty and prosperity; -- all, in short, that an oppressed people dream of. For a moment we believed that the hour of redemption was at hand. When the armed opposition of the people was overcome, and the Americans found themselves undisputed lords of the land, redemption became domination under the guise of "preparing the Philippine people for self-government." Some believed, or pretended to believe, in this scheme, supposing that justice, liberty of thought and speech, and the freedom of the press were safeguarded. But soon the veil was torn from their eyes. Suspicion replaced trust, and discontent, hope. The people, shocked and surprised, could no longer explain the acts of the government as resulting from pure philanthropy. Again and again dull murmurs arise from the masses, indicating unrest and discontent, but apparently the government is either too proud to admit the possibility of a protest against its omnipotence, or so credulous as to suppose that the people are in reality increasingly satisfied with American sovereignty and that soon the efforts of agitators to keep afire the flame of independence in the hearts of their fellow-countrymen will be no longer effective.
There is an attempt to make it appear that we have in these islands an earthly paradise created by American intervention for the benefit of the Filipino, where no crime goes unpunished, where the American treats the native like a brother, and the native looks to the American as an exemplar of morality, and where the office-holder is a missionary, working solely for the love of God and his fellow men, unmindful of his pocket. Whoever dares whisper the contrary, and attempts to prove it, is Anti-American, a demagogue, an agitator, a rebel, a disturber of the peace. Yet what is, in fact, the avowed purpose of the present Administration? Is it not to attract to these islands American exploiters by offering every encouragement and protection, by representing these islands as a land of promise with which Providence has rewarded American military prowess?
Against this course we have protested, seeing in it only a menace to Philippine nationality; and in this, our last issue, we protest once more against the present policy, which is in conflict with the legitimate aspirations of the Philippine people. Conquered, but unconvinced, we lay down our work with the satisfaction of having fulfilled our duty. The battle has been a desperate one, and our last cartridge is spent. One way of safety, indeed, lay open to us; we might have survived the disaster by humbling ourselves before our powerful adversaries and recanting. The instinct of self-preservation was strong, but loyalty to our country was stronger. Money, influence and authority were all on the side of the enemy; on ours only the national conscience, which gave us courage. The people know the outcome of the struggle. The American courts of justice (so-called) have found us guilty. It is well to repeat here the statement made before one of the judges who condemned us: "Your honor, this case involves the good name of the government and the prestige of the American people in these islands." Perhaps, had the tables been turned, we should have done the same, for such is universally the "justice" of imperialism.
It may be that at this moment of our cessation great events are impending. During the next ten years, -- perhaps sooner, -- the country will see great changes, notwithstanding all official assurances to the contrary. We should have liked to play our part, but since this is impossible, we have one last word of advice to give our people. We can never become Anglo-Saxons even though we wished it. We are an Oriental people: a part of the East which is today rising in its strength and shaking off the tyranny of ages. Let us remember now and in the future that the only salvation of our race lies in independence. It may be that notwithstanding the "liberty" of the press in these islands, a successor may take up our work in the vanguard of the people. In such case we bespeak for it all the support which has hitherto been ours.